Samsung, Sennheiser to Bring 3D Audio to the Masses

Audio could see some serious advances if Sennheiser and Samsung have their way. Audio specialist Sennheiser is teaming up with Samsung to develop smart headphones, according to a new report.

Sennheiser's AMBEO smart headset debuted at CES this January. (Credit: Tom's Guide)

(Image credit: Sennheiser's AMBEO smart headset debuted at CES this January. (Credit: Tom's Guide))

Speaking to The Korea Herald today (Apr. 24), Sennheiser CEO Andreas Sennheiser said that his company has inked a deal with Samsung to work on his firm's AMBEO smart headset. He said that the Samsung partnership is designed to lend Sennheiser some credibility in the Android universe.

Sennheiser first unveiled its smart headset concept at CES in January. The company said at the time that wanted to capture what it calls "immersive 3D audio" to deliver better sound to smartphones. There's a potential implication for virtual reality and augmented reality, too, as 3D sound could potentially lead to a more immersive experience when you strap on a VR headset like Samsung's Gear VR.

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Sennheiser's AMBEO smart headset uses two omni-direction microphones in the ear pieces that can hear subtle differences in sound before they reach your ear. It then adjusts the audio it's receiving to enhance the quality, delivering what Sennheiser bills as "lifelike audio."

"It places the listener in the exact, original sound field, so whether you capture a rainforest or a buzzing city, listening to the binaural recording will make you feel like you are there," Sennheiser said in announcing the AMEBO headset.

To actually take advantage of the technology, however, you'll need to have AMBEO-ready content. So, the technology will let you record in 3D audio to your smartphone and then play it back through your headset. An accompanying app will be used to record the content and ensure it's in the right format to hear it through the headset.

The Samsung tie-up comes in the wake of Samsung's purchase last year of Harman, a well-known audio company with a slew of brands under its banner. It's not immediately clear how Samsung and Sennheiser will team up on the AMBEO technology, but Sennheiser did tell The Korea Herald that in addition to credibility, the Samsung partnership will help the company more quickly ensure compatibility with its technology on Android devices.

"We are working with Samsung on the AMBEO smart headset to make it available for Android devices," Andreas Sennheiser told The Korea Herald. "Because a dominant layer of the smartphone market is Android-based phones."

It's an important development for the AMBEO line. In a statement last week, Sennheiser said that it was planning to launch AMBEO with iOS compatibility in the near future. It added that Android device support would be coming "later this year." It's unknown at this time whether the Samsung partnership will expedite the Android launch.

Don Reisinger is CEO and founder of D2 Tech Agency. A communications strategist, consultant, and copywriter, Don has also written for many leading technology and business publications including CNET, Fortune Magazine, The New York Times, Forbes, Computerworld, Digital Trends, TechCrunch and Slashgear. He has also written for Tom's Guide for many years, contributing hundreds of articles on everything from phones to games to streaming and smart home.